Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most frequently occurring sexually transmitted infection in the United States, but only one third of adolescent girls have received the HPV vaccine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2012; Committee on Infectious Diseases, 2012). Understanding correlates of vaccination behavior among young women has important implications for health care delivery and public service messages targeting HPV vaccination. Female college students (N = 313) completed web-based surveys during their sophomore (second) year of college, fall 2008. Surveys included questions about HPV vaccination, demographic factors (ethnicity/race, socioeconomic status [SES]), individual characteristics (romantic relationship status, grade point average, religiosity), and sexual behavior. Lifetime HPV vaccination was reported by 46.5% of participants. Being African American/Black was associated with a lower likelihood of vaccination. Having a mother with more education, adhering to religious teachings about sex-related principles, and having engaged in recent penetrative sex were associated with a higher likelihood of vaccination. Health care providers should consider young women to be an important group for HPV vaccine education and catch-up, particularly for African American/Black young women and young women from lower SES backgrounds. Providing vaccine education and access to young women before they become sexually active is critical.
- reproductive health
- sexually transmitted infection
- socioeconomic status
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